Former England manager Roy Hodgson believes the Three Lions should fear no-one in Friday’s World Cup draw.
Gareth Southgate’s side are in pot two for the draw in Moscow and could face a host of top nations next summer.
Hosts Russia as well as holders Germany are potential opponents from pot one, as are Brazil, Portugal, Argentina, Belgium, Poland and France.
Hodgson saw his England side drawn into a difficult group in 2014 as they came up against Italy, Uruguay and Costa Rica – crashing out after the opening two games.
The 70-year-old, back in club management at Crystal Palace, left his role with the Three Lions after a shock defeat to Iceland at Euro 2016.
But Hodgson believes current boss Southgate and his players should not concern themselves with who comes out of the hat and has backed England to do well in Russia.
“I don’t think Southgate or England will be bothered about that, they will have confidence about how the team is improving,” he said when asked about the possibility of a tough draw.
“They do not need to fear any of those scenarios or ideal groups. I would summarise my feelings that I am confident that no matter what group England find themselves in, it really won’t matter.
“What will matter is that the players Southgate picks will be good enough to win against (any) of them and I don’t think England will fear anyone.
“I don’t think it matters what draw England get, what matters is they will go there with a good team that I believe is capable of doing extremely well.
“It certainly doesn’t go on FIFA rankings as there are a lot from the top 10 I would rather meet than 25 down.”
Greg Dyke, then Football Association chairman, was caught on camera making a cut-throat gesture following the 2013 draw for the Brazil World Cup, suggesting England would struggle to compete against their opponents.
Successive 2-1 defeats against Italy and Uruguay saw Hodgson’s side eliminated even before they finished off the group stages with a goalless draw against Costa Rica.
Add to that the dreadful display against Iceland in the round of 16 last year and Hodgson’s belief in England’s ability could be questioned.
But Southgate’s side eased into the draw and impressed in back-to-back goalless friendly draws against Germany and Brazil earlier this month as the current manager looks to blood a host of youngsters between now and the start of the tournament.
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